Examine the growth of civil society and its impact on demonstration in Nigeria Civil Society refers to non-state organizations that chiefly seek to advance the interest of the people. It is generally understood in Hegelian terms as the distinct sphere of public space, separate from the state which manages the social relations and communication between the state and the citizens.
CICS action across sub-Sahara Africa became dense and widespread in the 1 sass as a result of influx of foreign aid from western government and monetary forces such as the Breton Woods Institutions who shifted the main recipients of donor aid from overspent to civil societies; hence a growth stimulant leading to widespread CSS action across the African continent. Naomi Chain has written about the prominent role of these organizations in the political liberalizing in the early asses that was seen as the resurgence of civil society in Africa.
She states that “[t]he urban protests of the late asses and early asses that triggered the process of reform were initiated either by civil servants, students, professional organizations, trade unions, or churches, and carried out by a combination of these and other groups in over 20 countries”. Civil society in Nigeria has had a touchable impact and has played a contributory role to the demonstration process albeit often faced with problems of corruption among the higher echelons of the CSS movement.
Civil society tradition has existed in Nigeria preceding the colonial era and evidenced in the era of imperial colonialism and subsequent authoritarian military regimes. Generally orchestrated Trade union strikes in 1964 and 1981 are evidence of this, bringing the nation to a standstill and forcing the governments of the time to negotiate civil society groups. Civic society activity in Nigeria has been dominated since independence by the older, argue organizations like the trade unions, professional associations like the Nigerian Bar Association, religious institutions, and traditional institutions, all of which have large memberships capable of filling the streets during protest actions. Since the 1 sass, however, a growing number of small groups?the MONGO movement?have risen on the back of the new technologies of the information revolution to play an important role in the public discourse on democracy and, to some extent, organization of public action.
In addition, the MONGO movement has built strong relationships with international donors and won a large portion of heir funds available in Nigeria (Eke forthcoming 2013). As in Ghana and Uganda among other African countries, Insignia’s military government implemented saps in the late asses that sparked extensive public protests led by the trade unions (Lewis 1996). Two glaring aspects of Nigerian military rule, however, reduced the impact of civil society political activities of the period.
The first was the military regime of Abraham Bandaged which implemented a gradual demagnification program shortly after taking office in 1985, and deflected civil society criticism by channeling it toward improving the transition program ether than removing the military from office (Drained et al. 1993). Secondly, the Nigerian military sat atop the nation’s vast oil wealth, which was gutted by generally low oil prices in the asses and asses, but was still sizeable and sufficiently concentrated in government hands as to provide important leverage over political and civil actors.
As Nigerian per capita incomes dropped from roughly $ 1,000 in 1980 to $ 250 in the early asses, and as structural adjustment gutted the nation’s public infrastructure and social safety net, government largesse proved increasingly irresistible to political leaders and some civil society actors, and corruption boomed, allowing the military to lengthen its rule (Lookouts 1993). The confrontation between the state and civil society was more intense during Bandaged and Bach’s regimes than any other rulers in Nigerian history.
Civil society was seen as a threat to their existence. As a result, they created and entrenched a culture of timidity and fear towards the military. This was perhaps best illustrated by the action of some politicians who dared to confront the military and demand that it relinquish power. Political maneuvering, co-vitiation, giving political appointments to key civil society leaders, rent seeking, patronage, nepotism, corruption, and factorization were General Bandage’s favored instruments for consolidating his grips on political power.
Rule by beach proved no more favorable to civil society organizations. By 2002, as the president and the PDP looked to retain office in the 2003 elections, relations between the government and civil society began to shift. President Bassoon turned to the PDP machinery, which used its access to vast public resources and control over the election system to deliver itself a lock hold on federal, state, and local offices in 2003?a pattern it repeated in 2007 and 2011.
Civil society, now vastly larger and more diverse than in the asses, split in many directions over the growing oligarchic nature of PDP governance. Nags from many sectors with government funding found protest difficult, or actively joined the PDP coalition (Eke forthcoming 2013). Nags with foreign donor funds have had greater freedom to criticize PDP corruption and election malfeasance, but have been unable to sustain reform coalitions in between election cycles, as occasional government reform policies have attracted support and participation from both the donors and reform Nags.
Consequently, Nigerian civil society as had no proactive demagnification coalitions since 1 999, when it had the clear threat of the military as a rallying point. Instead, multiple issue-specific coalitions have dominated civic life: election-reform coalitions, interruption coalitions, one for the passage of a Freedom of Information Bill, and others. Some organizations belong to multiple coalitions, but no central, sustained alliance exists as in the asses.
Doubtless, the complicated relationships between the large civil society groups?the unions, professional associations, religious institutions, and the like?and the government has sapped their ability to organize a sustained political reform agenda. As vast, complex organizations, these groups have seen some local and national affiliates deeply compromised by government largesse, while others remain deeply committed to the public interest.
Post 1999, opposition parties grew feeble providing, civil society groups few alternatives to back. However, January 2012 saw a new movement arise. Dubbed Occupy Nigeria, these protests sought to seek redress for the New Year day fuel increment by president Gastrointestinal, apparently caused by the removal of a long standing fuel subsidy. A week later, labor leaders denuded called off the demonstrations after reaching a compromise with the government that reinstated half of the subsidy.
Non labor activists howled with anger that labor leaders had again been “settled” (i. E. , bribed) into a deal that squandered a golden opportunity for fundamental democracy-building concessions, but without the Nil’s massive organizing potential?and its 5 million members?the protests soon died out, and OCCUPY Nigeria became primarily an online phenomenon. These events illustrate both the potential and the limitations implicit in the growth of civil societies in Nigeria and their impact on demonstration.